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A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life - Hardcover (Packer)

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“The Puritans can help us today toward the maturity that they knew, and that we need.” —J. I. Packer

Committed to hard work, humility, and serious study of Scripture, the Puritans lived out their faith in a way that many now dismiss as antiquated. But in an increasingly fast-paced, materialistic culture, Christ followers today can learn a lot from these spiritual giants of the past.

In A Quest for Godliness, J. I. Packer thoughtfully surveys the life of the Puritans, their influence in church history, and their important virtues that modern-day believers can emulate. Exploring the works of Puritan leaders including John Owen, Richard Baxter, and Jonathan Edwards, Packer uncovers the beauty of their holistic, Christ-centered lifestyle—from vibrant worship, devotion to family, and strong sense of humanity, to their social action, evangelism, and revival. This classic book helps readers appreciate the enduring relevance of Puritan devotion.


Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: Introduction 

Part 1: The Puritans in Profile
Chapter 2: Why We Need the Puritans
Chapter 3: Puritanism as a Movement of Revival
Chapter 4: The Practical Writings of the English Puritans

Part 2: The Puritans and the Bible
Chapter 5: John Owen on Communication from God
Chapter 6: The Puritans as Interpreters of Scripture
Chapter 7: The Puritan Conscience

Part 3: The Puritans and the Gospel
Chapter 8: “Saved by His Precious Blood”: An Introduction to John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ
Chapter 9: The Doctrine of Justification in Development and Decline Among the Puritans
Chapter 10: The Puritan View of Preaching the Gospel 

Part 4: The Puritans and the Holy Spirit
Chapter 11: The Witness of the Spirit in Puritan Thought
Chapter 12: The Spirituality of John Owen
Chapter 13: John Owen on Spiritual Gifts

Part 5: The Puritan Christian Life
Chapter 14: The Puritans and the Lord’s Day
Chapter 15: The Puritan Approach to Worship
Chapter 16: Marriage and Family in Puritan Thought

Part 6: The Puritans in Ministry
Chapter 17: Puritan Preaching
Chapter 18: Puritan Evangelism
Chapter 19: Jonathan Edwards and Revival
Chapter 20: Afterword



J. I. Packer (1926–2020) served as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College. He authored numerous books, including the classic bestseller Knowing God. Packer also served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.



“When a giant of the faith speaks of those who are giants of the faith to him, it is time for the rest of us to listen and learn. J. I. Packer’s understanding and appreciation for the Puritans is peerless and timely.”
Os Guinness, author, The Call

“This is one of the most influential books in both my life and ministry for several reasons. I first met J. I. Packer on the day in 1990 when Crossway formally presented him with his copy of the original edition of A Quest for Godliness. I was in attendance that afternoon when he spoke from one of the chapters to a small group of pastors gathered in Wheaton to hear him. Afterward I introduced myself and explained that I was writing a book on godliness, that I’d quoted extensively from the Puritans, and boldly asked if he would consider writing the foreword. I could hardly contain my excitement when he agreed and there is no question that his contribution was a major factor in the success of my first book. Since then, I have used A Quest for Godliness with thousands of students in a seminary class on personal spiritual disciplines. Many have told me that, except for the Bible, it’s the best book they’ve ever read. Not only is it a solid introduction to the lives and teaching of the Puritans, but it is also a feast of theology, biography, history, and practical spirituality. I urge every minister, seminary student, and seriously minded layperson to devour this book.”
Donald S. Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, Family WorshipPraying the Bible; and Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

“In A Quest for Godliness, J. I. Packer paints a vivid portrait of Puritans—their piety, church life, and social impulse—providing a model of passionate, holy living for today’s often-complacent church. Packer’s characteristically lucid style and penetrating insights into Christians of old send a vibrant challenge to those of us who follow Christ in this last decade of the twentieth century. I heartily recommend this book.”
Chuck Colson

“Dr. Packer has blended theology, biography, history, and practical exhortation in a book that is a delight to read. But even more, the book speaks to our contemporary church situation and causes us to search our hearts and examine our ministries. Whether you are just getting acquainted with the Puritans or are a long-time friend, A Quest for Godliness will instruct and inspire you. Here is solid spiritual food that contributes to maturity.”
Warren W. Wiersbe, former General Director, Back to the Bible